It’s a fact that many of us Gunners are proud of, that our academy is one of the best in the country, training up young players from potential into real players and ensuring a constant stream of talent is available for the club to utilize.
It’s not just about the academy though; Arsenal is also a club that’s great at nurturing young players, and many of the best players of recent generations have started their careers with us right here at Arsenal.
After leaving school in 1988, the young Andy Cole signed up to play for Arsenal in the youth team, and a year later was signed professionally to the football club.
It was the first step on a ladder which found the youngster fame and fortune as well as international caps and one of the most recognisable names in football for a time. His career spanned two decades, during which time he played for many of the UK’s best clubs.
It was the nurturing influence of the Arsenal Football Club in his younger years, however, that set him on that path – and what a path it turned out to be!
Cole is far from the only youngster to benefit from the youth programme at Arsenal FC – it has been in operation since 1893 – though on a much more ad-hoc basis than the rigorous training of today. The formal youth team started up in 1954, and has since fed through hundreds of players into the upper echelons of the English football leagues.
Teams of under-18s and under-16s play in different leagues, with Arsenal finding much success, but the academy takes in children as young as nine years old in order to nurture their talents and help them on the way to becoming a professional footballer.
It’s produced talents like Ashley Cole, David Bentley, Cesc Fabregas, Nicklas Bendtner and Jack Wilshere among many others and continues to ensure that the Arsenal squad will always have plenty of fresh meat to choose from when the time strikes.
Any Arsenal fan is sure to be fascinated by the process of coming up through the youth team, and who better placed to give insights into this than Andy Cole? He’s an engaging and entertaining public speaker who will instantly put a room at ease and have it eating out of the palm of his hand.
He’s the ideal choice of celebrity speaker for any event where you’ll find Arsenal fans, whether it’s a charity gala, a business dinner or an awards evening – and he’s available to book through London based celebrity agents MN2S, although it’s likely Manchester United fans would prefer he spoke at their events than ours. Alternatively, you’ll find plenty of other Arsenal stars past and present on the books there, so if he’s not quite what you’re after, there’s sure to be someone who is.